You will be up early on the morning of your Gorilla Trekking for a good breakfast in preparation for the day’s physical activity. You will report for registration at the Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger station. After a briefing by the rangers, your gorilla trek will start. The trek usually takes between three and six hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is required, as well as a strong pair of walking boots or shoes.
The rangers will guide you through the village gardens and into the jungle-like forest. They will escort you through the sometimes thick bush, occasionally hacking the dense undergrowth with a machete as you search to locate the gorillas. The mountain gorillas are under 24-hour monitoring for their safety, so you’re almost guaranteed to see them. The rangers monitor each gorilla family by keeping in close radio contact.
In part due to gorilla tourism, the population of gorillas is slowly increasing, but the species remains critically endangered. Gorillas and humans share almost identical genetic material and their health must not be compromised by coming into contact with human diseases (via our food, for example). To reduce transmission of disease from humans to gorillas, you will also be advised to keep a distance of 7 meters from the gorillas.
Once you have located the gorilla family, you will be asked to leave all your belongings to one side, and approach the gentle giants, just with your camera. The guides will interpret the animals’ behavior and advise on what you are watching. Females and their young, young males and even a dominant Silverback may be seen feeding, playing, interacting with each other, or just sleeping! You will never forget your encounter with the gorillas. They will be quite curious to see you! You are allowed exactly one hour with the gorillas before returning to base.